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Hailed by the Daily Telegraph as ‘a voice of real distinction,’ Nicky Spence is fast emerging as 'one of our brightest young tenors.’ An artist of great integrity, Nicky Spence’s unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty in his musicianship are steadfastly earning him a place at the top of the profession. Nicky's 2016/17 Season include a return to Opéra de Paris for Andrès in Wozzeck, Alwa in Lulu at ENO under Mark Wigglesworth, Tichon Kátya Kabanová at Seattle Opera, and a reprisal of his portrayal of Števa in Jenůfa for Grange Park Opera in their new British home. Other highlights include his role debut of Mime in a recorded performance of Das Rheingold with the Hallé Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder, and Bruckner's Te Deum under Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. CD releases include the last volume in the Strauss Song Series with Roger Vignoles (Hyperion), a disc of Buxton Orr Songs with Iain Burnside (Delphian) and concert appearances at the Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall and the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow. Last season’s highlights included his

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Hailed by the Daily Telegraph as ‘a voice of real distinction,’ Nicky Spence is fast emerging as 'one of our brightest young tenors.’ An artist of great integrity, Nicky Spence’s unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty in his musicianship are steadfastly earning him a place at the top of the profession.

Nicky's 2016/17 Season include a return to Opéra de Paris for Andrès in Wozzeck, Alwa in Lulu at ENO under Mark Wigglesworth, Tichon Kátya Kabanová at Seattle Opera, and a reprisal of his portrayal of Števa in Jenůfa for Grange Park Opera in their new British home. Other highlights include his role debut of Mime in a recorded performance of Das Rheingold with the Hallé Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder, and Bruckner's Te Deum under Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. CD releases include the last volume in the Strauss Song Series with Roger Vignoles (Hyperion), a disc of Buxton Orr Songs with Iain Burnside (Delphian) and concert appearances at the Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall and the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow.

Last season’s highlights included his debut at the Bastille in Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, Leoncavallo's Zazá with the BBCSO for Opera Rara, The Makropoulos Case at Frankfurt Oper, and Števa in David Alden's landmark production of Jenůfa at ENO. Concert appearances included performance of works by Bach at the BBC Proms, Les Illuminations under Yan Pascal Tortelier, Mendelssohn's Elijah and Bach St Matthew Passion at the Royal Festival Hall. Nicky performed recitals at; St Martin-in-the-Fields, Kings Place, Zurich's Tonhalle, the Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall.

On the opera stage, Nicky Spence created the role of Brian in the world premiere of Nico Muhly's opera Two Boys at ENO, a role he reprised for his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2013 conducted by David Robertson. His other recent roles include David in multi-award winning Die Meistersingers von Nürnberg at ENO, Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini at De Nederlandse Opera under Sir Mark Elder, Števa in Jenůfa at La Monnaie, a Rossini double bill at Welsh National Opera with Carlo Rizzi, Steuermann in Der Fliegender Holländer in concert with the CBSO under Andris Nelsons and at Scottish Opera, Iago in Rossini’s Otello for the Buxton Festival, and Tamino Die Zauberflöte directed by Sir Thomas Allen for Scottish Opera. Other performances have included roles in Billy Budd (dir. David Alden), Benvenuto Cellini (dir. Terry Gilliam), Les Dialogues des Carmélites (dir. John Doyle), Intermezzo, Don Giovanni, The Beggar’s Opera, The Turn of the Screw, The Rake’s Progress, and Fidelio.

Recent concert performances include Dvorak's Saint Ludmila with the Hallé Orchestra, Tristan und Isolde with the BBC Scottish Symphony under Donald Runnicles, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Barbican with the Philharmonia, Finzi's Dies Natalis with the BBC CO, Elgar's The Kingdom at Kings College, Cambridge, Bach B Minor Mass under Paul McCreesh, Mozart C Minor Mass at Cadogan Hall, and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with L’Orchestre Nationale d’Ile de France and at Wigmore Hall.


An experienced recording artist, Nicky Spence first attracted a long-term recording contract with Universal Classics at a young age and has increasing recognition on stage, radio and television as a presenter and performer alike, having contributed to tours and Platinum Selling disks all over the world. The tenor’s discography include his highly acclaimed 2016 French Song recital disc with Malcolm Martineau entitled Paradis sur Terre (Chandos) which followed their successful debut disc As You Like It (Resonus Records). Other recording collaborations have included Graham Johnson (Schumann: The Complete Songs Vol. 10 / Hyperion), Britten Songs with Malcolm Martineau (Onyx), Messiaen’s La Mort du Nombre (Stone Records) Wolf Song Series for Oxford Lieder Festival (Stone Records) and a disc of premiere Hoddinott and Jonathan Dove recordings (Naxos). Adding to his credentials in contemporary repertoire is a Mark-Anthony Turnage’s song cycle A Constant Obsession, for Resonus Classics, which has received uniformly excellent reviews, premiere works by Pavel Haas (Resonus Records), a new work For an Unknown Solider written for him by Jonathan Dove and the Mozart Players (Onyx) which are both due for release next year.

Nicky Spence trained at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the National Opera Studio, London. He took his place as an inaugural Harewood Artist at the ENO in 2011, which is made possible by the American Friends of the ENO.

Nicky was nominated by the International Opera Awards for Young Singer of the Year 2015 and was also one of ten artists up for this year’s Times Breakthrough Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards celebrating the best up and coming young British talent from across the Arts industry.

UPDATED IN JUNE 2016

 

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Reviews

"Nicky Spence’s tenor gleams thrillingly and sexily as caddish, weak-willed Števa."

Tim Ashley, Guardian

"Nicky Spence was larger than life, both in voice and in manner"

David Karlin, Bachtrack

"Nicky Spence is bold as brass as the cocky Steva"

George Hall, The Stage

"His French is remarkably idiomatic, and he finds colours and chiaroscuro shading in the music"

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times

"Nicky Spence is one of our brightest young tenors"

Richard Morrison, The Times

"Nicky Spence: tenor was on spectacular form in Bach's demanding arias"

Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

"Nicky Spence floored us with the drama of ‘Deposuit potentes"

Peter Reed, Classical Source

"And then there’s the contrast between this fine-spun theme and the thundering, quasi-operatic Quoniam. Spence was master and more of both, crooning and raging by turns, though later this latter was revealed merely as a warm-up for a Deposuit Potentes that seized the hall with its physical force and rhetorical urgency."

Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

"Nicky Spence’s disarmingly ingenious David"

Richard Morrison, The Times (09/02/15)

"[...] Nicky Spence, a booming young tenor who gets better with every performance. As the testy impresario figure, Courtois, he could have outsung a jet on a runway."

Mark Valencia, Critics Circle

"The AAM’s lightness of attack was exhilarating, the strings’ volatile sheen upping the expressive ante no end and providing a luminous backdrop for Frank de Bruine’s ethereally pastoral oboe obbligato (which he played standing up) in the “Qui tollis” section of the ‘Gloria’, which circled round Nicky Spence’s disarmingly tender, Italianate and challenging aria."

Peter Reed, Classical Source

" Nicky Spence and Madeleine Shaw have irresistible charm as David and Magdalene"

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph (08/02/15)

" ...Nicky Spence’s David is the perfect blend of impulsiveness and serious ambition..."

The Guardian

"Nicky Spence, a down-to-earth David"

Financial Times, Richard Fairman (10/02/15)

"Apart from Nicky Spence’s charismatic David, no single voice may leap out as world-class "

Michael Church, Independent (10/02/15)

"And there were assertive contributions from James Creswell as Pogner and Nicky Spence as David."

Michael White, New York Times (10/02/15)

"Nicky Spence’s David – new power amplifying his trademark purity"

Alexandra Coghlan, NewStatesman (10/02/15)

"Nicky Spence as David was a lovable melodious thug, and fun whenever he stepped on to the stage"

Eric Page, G Scene, (10/02/15)

"Nicky Spence made yet another strong role debut as David, staking out his claim as a potential Mastersinger with powerful singing and bluff comic acting"

Peter Reed, Classical Source (07/02/15)

" Nicky Spence was confident in both voice and acting as Sachs’ apprentice, David"

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International (10/02/15)

"Nicky Spence brought his familiar sense of lively bon-homie and intensely vivid stage presence to bear on David, giving a vividly projected performance which was combined with sustained and ardent lyricism. The result was highly appealing, very charming indeed and supremely well sung"

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill (08/02/15)

"Spence’s voice is naturally thrilling, radiant and luminescent in just about every second of this programme, crossing stylistic boundaries with the silvery ease of a born entertainer…"

***** CD Review 'As You Like It...' - The Scotsman

"Star of the evening had to be Nicky Spence, who sang confidently and I hope with promise of more Rossini roles. Here was a tenor matching Bruce Ford in this repertoire, and it would be good to hear him in more serious Rossini in due course. "

Opera Britannia - Rossini: Otello / Buxton Festival

"Elan, intelligence and passionate engagement: Scottish tenor Nicky Spence brings it all to his exemplary performance of Out of Winter, the opening cycle on this disc of songs by Jonathan Dove. Spence's enunciation of the text (by the late Robert Tear, in response to Britten's Winter Words) has crystal clarity, while his singing runs the full gamut from the aching lyricism of Song I to the elated peroration of Song VI's conclusion."

BBC Magazine - Dove: All You Who Sleep Tonight

"Roger Quilter’s Three Shakespeare Songs, rich and genuine, were wonderfully delivered, and then came the jewel of the afternoon, Shakespeare settings by John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, Spence and Lepper moved into torch-song mood, Spence’s fabulous body-language (not least his eyes and smile) conveying every nudge of this treasurable music"

Christopher Morley, The BIrmingham Post

"Nicky Spence, also a tenor, aptly stresses superficiality as the callow Steva…"

Jenůfa - George Loomis, The New York Times

"Nicky Spence rose to the challenge of ringing every possible drop of emotion from the score ... [He] sang with grace and aplomb."

Britten's War Requiem - Christie Franke, Bachtrack

"Tenor Nicky Spence was in ringing voice as Blanche’s brother, the Chevalier de la Force; every word registered and he clearly conveyed his dilemma when visiting Blanche to persuade her to escape. "

Dialogues des Carmélites - Opera Britannia

"[…] Nicky Spence’s Steersman made up the expert cast. Spence’s rumbustious yet delicate ceilidh display, with his troosers slipping down, could go viral if someone puts it on YouTube."

Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian

"Tenor Nicky Spence found it difficult not to steal the show from his fellow performers [...]. His charisma and trademark twinkle on Kurt Weill's Lonely House, from Street Scene, produced whooping and gruff chants of "Brilliant, son!" from the crowd."

Marianne Gunn, Scottish Opera

"And the tenor Nicky Spence changed my conception of the Novice. [...] With his husky frame and penetrating voice, Mr. Spence was a different kind of victim: an overgrown weakling who will do anything to avoid pain and punishment. "

Billy Budd, ENO - Anthony TommasiniI, The New York Times

"Spence [...] broadly overcomes the awkwardness of adults playing children on the stage – and does it with arrestingly bright, bell-like resonance [...] Spence is turning out to be a voice of real distinction (ENO, Two Boys)"

Michael White, The Telegraph

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Discography